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The CIA, JFK and Hollywood: Joseph Green Reviews Nick Schou


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I remember when Parkland first came out to theaters.

Although my wife wasn't then and still isn't interested in the JFK event, I convinced her to see this film with me.

The film had just came out that week.

We got there early to make sure we got a good seat. Not too close and not too far back.  By the time the trailers had finished and the movie began, my wife and I ... WERE THE ONLY PEOPLE IN THE THEATER!

With the one exception of a very swarthy, disheveled and heavy set fellow ( seriously, between 300 and 400 lbs.) who sat in the back of the theater, and who was snoring so loudly at the twenty minute mark ( and never stopped! ) that my wife and I often missed some of the dialogue during the rest of the film.

The film was so bad as it was, but with only 3 people in the viewing audience and one of those snoring like an old lion throughout, I burst out laughing several times at the ridiculous scene.

I think the ticket sales numbers for that film were some of the "lowest ever on record" for a film with it's production budget amount.

Edited by Joe Bauer
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I've been watching the Jason Bourne movie series for tips on how modern surveillance plays out in fiction/film.  The whole series reads like one long ad for how rogue agents and rogue ops penetrate intelligence from the very top to the very bottom, and always will - because good or necessary programs, once developed, go rogue.

As I've tried to point out in other posts, with perhaps too much comedy, if rogue ops are ubiquitous and tolerated, what is the difference between rogue ops and actual policy?

For instance, what was the distinction between the arms dealing of Ted Shackley and Edwin Wilson in North Africa and the policy-making arrogated to itself by CIA?  That Sheckley skated and Wilson was punished as a rogue?  The situation repeated itself with different dimensions in the Central America contra war.

I don't know the precise history, but I doubt the Bourne series rose to film supremacy without intel consultation and approval.  Paul Greengrass, the series' principal director, directed the arguable whitewash United 93.

Edited by David Andrews
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14 hours ago, Joe Bauer said:

I remember when Parkland first came out to theaters.

Although my wife wasn't then and still isn't interested in the JFK event, I convinced her to see this film with me.

The film had just came out that week.

We got there early to make sure we got a good seat. Not too close and not too far back.  By the time the trailers had finished and the movie began, my wife and I ... WERE THE ONLY PEOPLE IN THE THEATER!

With the one exception of a very swarthy, disheveled and heavy set fellow ( between 400 and 500 lbs.) who sat in the back of the theater, and who was snoring so loudly at the twenty minute mark ( and never stopped! ) that my wife and I often missed some of the dialogue during the rest of the film.

The film was so bad as it was, but with only 3 people in the viewing audience and one of those snoring like a old lion throughout, I burst out laughing several times at the ridiculous scene.

I think the ticket sales numbers for that film were some of the "lowest ever on record" for a film with it's production budget amount.

To put Parkland's attendance figures in perspective, Jackie, budgeted at $9,000,000 (from IMDB - and probably an understatement), made only $13,958,679 (USA) as of 14 April 2017, four months after release.  By Hollywood standards, this is not rank failure, but it's a "box office failure," considering that the additional $4 mil that brings it to break-even point was spent on TV and print ads, theater trailers, etc.

IMDB lists Parkland as budgeted at $10,000,000, but it made only $652,355 (USA) as of 1 November 2013, one month after release.  Presumably IMDB's budget announcement dates reflect the day the picture last played in theaters. 

The figures do not take in worldwide box office, nor DVD sales and rentals, which the industry depends on to recover the production costs of non-hit movies.

Oliver Stone's studiously inoffensive World Trade Center also only broke even.  The bland film about RFK's assassination, Bobby, didn't make back its $14 mil production budget, scoring only $11 mil and change, USA.

I wonder if there is a general trend here.  Would people go to the theater to see conspiracy-minded historical films of the JFK type faster than conventional history/biography?  It's something you can't prove, since no US production company is going to buy those type scripts.  All conspiracy films now have to be ads for the glamour and necessity of conspiracy.

Edited by David Andrews
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Parkland was a complete box office bomb.

The rule of thumb is that a film has to make 2.5 times its budget to break even.  That figure allows for prints, distribution and ads.  

Today, with DVD, and cable sales, Jackie might have done it.  But Parkland was a real bomb and a half.  This is why I think Hanks got two other producing partners prior to release to share the losses.

 

Edited by James DiEugenio
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50 minutes ago, James DiEugenio said:

Parkland was an complete box office bomb.

The rule of thumb is that a film has to make 2.5 times its budget to break even.  That figure allows for print and ads.  

Today, with DVD, and cable sales, Jackie might have down it.  But Parkland was a real bomb and a half.  This is why I think Hanks got two other producing partners prior to release to share the losses.

 

I know, but my point is, every film mentioned in my post was a a box office bomb, including Jackie, for which there were high expectations in the MSM.  A trend?

Re: your 2.5 x the budget rule - All the figures I had at hand were the IMDB scores, and those are best described euphemistically as approximations, which I presented for comparisonParkland would have had a negligible ad campaign compared with Jackie, yet they both flopped.

Absent worldwide box office and DVD figures, even the whitewash United 93 failed to make 2.5 x its budget, with ticket sales declining after opening weekend:

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$11,478,360 (USA) (28 April 2006)

Gross:

$31,471,430 (USA) (30 June 2006)

Edited by David Andrews
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Parkland was worse than a box office bomb.

Look at those other films that we call bombs. They made close to their basic production costs, but as Jim Di points out, a film needs to make 2 and 1/2 times it's basic production budget to break even. To cover distribution and marketing costs, etc.

Parkland basic production cost was what ...$10 million?

And it's domestic ticket "gross" was $650,000?  That's less than 10% of it's basic production cost!  10% !!!

That's not a box office bomb.  That's a film industry joke! 

An embarrassment on a level that those involved with it tell celebrity interviewers in advance that they won't do the interview if this subject is brought up.  

Like an indecent exposure in public charge in their past that their publicists keeps paying to keep buried.

And what was Parkland's foreign ticket sales ... $50,000 at most ?

And who the heck is going to pay to see this joke of a film now through rental?

Sometimes movie people of great success and influence will push through a film project no matter how illogically bad the idea is on it's face.

Tom Hanks has that kind of clout. But he has to live with this money losing joke of a film.

I hope it gives him at least a little sleep disturbed reality check now and then on how wrong his sense of JFK history was and is to the thinking and views of the huge majority of people both here and abroad.

Edited by Joe Bauer
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Parkland was really a vanity project for the late Bill Paxton.

The story is that he happened to be in Dallas and so he went to the Sixth Floor.  He found a photo of himself from the day JFK was in town, I think it was in Fort Worth.  Then he heard about his assassination later.

That visit combined with the release of Bugliosi's RH, inspired him to bring the project to Hanks and his producing partner Gary Goetzmann.  And that is how the project was originally hatched.  If you recall, there was a lot of buzz about this when first announced, which I detail in Reclaiming Parkland.  But the problem was twofold from my inside sources.

1.) Hanks' track record for producing mini series got worse and worse because his budgets got more and more out of control, while the ratings went down and down.

2.) No one could put together a workable script which was reasonably priced.

As time went on the decision was then to concentrate on what went on at the hospital.  Why?  I don't know.  So then they put together this  pointless script which, in my opinion, was simply nothing but  a meandering mess.  But Hanks and Goetzmann must have realized they had a turkey in hand, because they brought in two other partners to share the losses at the last minute.  As they say, there is a sucker born each day.

Its not easy getting information on the project, and I luckily know a couple of people in the industry who inquired for me.   Hanks does not like to talk about it, for obvious reasons.  

BTW, Hanks is an absolute amateur when it comes to history.  About the level of a college sophomore, if that.  His next project is based upon the Pentagon Papers controversy.  Except, Ellsberg is not the main character.  And the paper he focuses on is not the NY Times.  Which actually broke the story after months of talks with Ellsberg.  Which is really how the documents got out there.

Hanks decided to tell the story through Bradlee and the Washington Post!  And the theme is the heroic struggle of Kate Graham!

LOL

:lol:

 :shutup

 

I am not kidding.  I got that from Dan Ellsberg himself.  Hanks then got Meryl Streep to play Graham and his buddy Spielberg to direct it.  HA HA HA.  That is the New Hollywood for you.  About the sophistication and acuteness of Cecil B. DeMille.

And I will wager neither of them said anything like the following:  "But Tom, Bradlee was beaten on this story by the Times.  And there are reports that Graham actually declined approaches by Ellsberg on the advice of Kissinger..  They fell into the story when the Times reports created a firestorm in the first place. Why do yo want to commemorate something like that?"

Answer:  What do you expect from someone  who makes a movie in this day and age saying Oswald did it.

 

Edited by James DiEugenio
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When I saw PARKLAND during its first week in Berkeley, there were three other people in the theater. A fiasco. One subversive thing Oliver Stone

managed to slip into WORLD TRADE CENTER was someone shouting that there were explosives going off in the basement. Otherwise it seemed

to be a case study in how to make an "apolitical" film about a political subject, which means it was political by not challenging the official myth. I saw it at a preview in San Francisco and was surprised when Stone himself showed up with one of his stars. The discussion didn't amount to much, nor did the film.

Edited by Joseph McBride
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In Berkeley, as one might expect, people flock to truly good political movies (and there

is a theater that plays a lot of offbeat documentaries on social issues). I remember the jammed

house for FAHRENHEIT 9/11 at a large theater when I went with my brother Tim, who looks a lot like Michael Moore

and was wearing a baseball cap. People were doing doubletakes in the lobby as we walked past.

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